Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Day 31: Meeting Expectations out of Love, not Guilt

The day (way back in September) that I sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away all the laundry in the entire house (5 loads), all on the same day, and had the kitchen tidied and dinner ready on time was monumental.  Monumental, I tell you.  Usually when my husband gets home, the kids are either playing loudly or watching a movie, while I unload the dishwasher and start supper.  The house looks the same as it did when he left in the morning, or often worse, and he can't understand what I did all day.

Now, my friends who also have small children try to reassure me that all mothers have the same issues.  But the trouble is that I know how much time I waste in a day.  I know I could have been more productive.  I know that it is possible to put away the laundry on the same day it is washed, rather than a week later.  I know that I am way way behind on the cleaning.  So I am usually in a cycle of feeling guilty, and then feeling annoyed that my husband doesn't understand, and then resolving to do better tomorrow...and then feeling guilty again because the next day is the same.

I know there isn't supposed to be such guilt in our relationship.  Yes, my husband has expectations of me as a stay-at-home mom, just as I have expectations of him as the breadwinner and lawn-mower of the family.  And yes, it's particularly hard to meet those expectations while my children are little.  But my motivation behind meeting my husband's expectations should not be to avoid feeling guilty.  If that is my focus, I'll do as little as I can get away with and still have an answer to the question, "What did you do today?"

If my focus is on love rather than guilt, then I will do my best to meet any expectations and even go beyond them.  I want my husband to be proud to call me his wife, and to feel that there is value in having me stay at home instead of working.

Of course other relationships come with expectations as well.  Children expect to be played with and given time with their friends, while friends expect phone calls, advice, emergency babysitting, and a shoulder to cry on.  Instead of feeling guilty for not meeting these expectations, remember to foster these relationships to the best of your ability out of love, not guilt.

I still have a long (LONG!) way to go, but I hope this past month of focussing on relationships will only be the start of a rich, fulfilling, relationship-filled life. For me and for you.

Thank you so much for joining me on this 31-day journey!

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